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The wild Rupert River is already straddled by distribution lines
The wild Rupert River is already straddled by distribution lines

Electricity bound for NY, VT comes at a cost for the Cree

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Beginning today, North Country Public Radio will air a series of special reports about a part of the world that feels very remote: the Cree Indian territory in northern Canada.

Back in the 1990s, New York's then-governor, Mario Cuomo, canceled a $15 billion deal to buy hydroelectric power from Quebec. That move effectively killed a project that would have built a network of dams and reservoirs along the Great Whale River, near James Bay. That was a victory for the Cree and for their allies in the environmental community. But now Hydro-Quebec is moving forward with a new project that will uproot and rechannel another northern river. Supporters say it's an engineering feat that rivals the Trans-Alaska pipeline, one that will supply cheap, carbon-free electricity to consumers in New York state and Vermont. As Brian Mann reports, the Rupert River is sacred to the Cree who live nearby.

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Soon 70% of the water will be diverted at this location near Nemaska, Quebec.

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